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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Feb 08

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12055-9


language: English

Bone and body characteristics of freestyle and nonfreestyle skiers

Ilona SCHWARZ 1 , Darby A. HOUCK 1, Viral SHAH 2, Austin J. JOLLY 3, Adam LINDSAY 1, Jonathan T. BRAVMAN 1, Rachel M. FRANK 1

1 Division of Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery, Department of Orthopedics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA; 2 Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA; 3 Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, Department of Medicine University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA


BACKGROUND: Freestyle skiers must optimize their aerial performance by maintaining the strength and coordination to propel themselves in the air and adapt to landings and take-offs on uneven surfaces. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences in areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and body composition in freestyle skiers and nonfreestyle skiing controls.
HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesized that the unique demands and summation of forces experienced by freestyle athletes would manifest as greater femoral neck aBMD, lower percent body fat, and lower BMI than nonfreestyle skiing controls.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level 3, Retrospective Cohort Study.
METHODS: 18 freestyle skiers (14M 4F, [27.56 ± 5.22 years]) and 15 controls (7M 8F, [26.93 ± 3.54 years]) were measured with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to determine total body composition, hip and lumbar spine aBMD, and bone mineral composition (BMC). Height and weight were measured with an in-office stadiometer and scale. Questionnaires were used to determine physical activity and pertinent medical history. Between-group variations were analyzed with an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and stratified by sex.
RESULTS: Percent body fat, hip and lumbar spine aBMD, BMC, and area were all similar between freeski and nonfreeski athletes (p<0.05 for all). BMI was significantly lower in male freeski athletes (23.97kg/m2, 95% CI [22.75-25.18]) compared to nonfreestyle skiing controls (26.64kg/m2, 95% CI [24.43-28.86]) (p=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Freestyle skiers have a lower BMI than nonfreestyle skiers. All skiers in this study has similar percent body fat, aBMD, and BMC. This pilot study supports that there are unique musculoskeletal adaptations based on type of skiing.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Skiers endure a variety of intense physical forces yet remain understudied despite high orthopedic injury rates. This study serves to broaden the current sports health literature and explore the physical demands and subsequent physiology of freestyle skiers.

KEY WORDS: Skiing; Bone; Bone mineral density; Sports medicine; BMI; Bone strength

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